It is hard to think of a more rewarding experience for a writer than to hear how your work has affected someone. I was honored to have received this email:
You mother-in-law gave me your book to read. I wanted to take the time to write this email to you to let you know how thoroughly I enjoyed reading it. I started yesterday morning and finished it at 2 am. I even rescheduled my lunch plans to today. I was born in Faulbach am Main and lived there until I came to the states when I was 21 years old. Reading your book made me feel like I was sitting im Hof (on the back porch) with my two Omas, my Mama and my Tante listening to their stories. My mother did not meet her father until she was five years old, when he came back from the war. She has often told us the story of her running up to the man she recognized from the photographs in the living room when the soldiers came back home and her father telling her "pass auf Junge , Du wirst Dir noch weh tun when Du zwischen den Leuten rennst"as he swooped her up. (watch out boy, you are going to get hurt running in between all those people). He knew from the letters from his wif e that he had a baby girl - my Oma had given my mom a boys hair cut because it was easier to take care of. It was only after my mom told him "Du bist mein Vater" that he knew it was his daughter trying to get to him. My mom and aunt also told us how they could not wait for the Amis (German slang for Americans) to come to the Village - they were expecting them with great anticipation. Today she is 76 years old and she said she can still remember the face of the Ami who pressed a piece of chewing gum in her hand and tasseled her hair when they marched through the village.
Thank you for writing the book. It brought back many memories spent with my family.
I'm loving the pictures people are sending me of Darker the Night. Please post your picture on the Darker The Night Facebook
The first picture is mine. I loved seeing my novel displayed next to some of the great authors in a bookstore.
Darker the Night is now officially a "Beach Read"-at least in Sarasota Florida.
Reader Tony is excited to get his copy.
On February 8, Susan Sipal, my editor, and I drove to Hilde's house to pick her up for the launch party. I opened the door and she showed me a framed photo of her and John (her late husband), holding the picture close to her chest.
"Would it be all right for me to bring this? I'd like John to be part of the event."
Blinking back the tears, I agreed. It finally dawned on me how much this book meant to Hilde.
Once at the Leon Mann Jr. Enrichment Center, the flurry of activity began. With over 65 gathered and waiting, Hilde’s daughter Marlena helped with the refreshments, a screen was set up to watch the book trailer, reporters from two television stations and the local paper arrived, and suddenly we were on stage.
After watching the trailer, I read the chapter of the book which describes how Hedy, the protagonist, spent the night after her 19th birthday. Then it was time to celebrate Hilde’s 90th birthday with singing and cookies. Time does fly. Hilde stood and thanked her friends and neighbors, and we answered questions.
We were whisked off to a small room for interviews. Beth Lawrence from Jacksonville Channel 12, Jaqueline Matters from Greenville Channel 9, and Megan Soult from The News Times in Morehead City did a wonderful job helping Hilde relax and asked good questions.
After a fun, but exhausting day, I dropped Hilde at her home. As I waved goodbye, she said, “I can’t believe it is really done.”
Neither can I, Hilde, neither can I!
I'm giving away five copies of Darker the Night signed by me and the woman who inspired the story, Hilde Sensale. Click below to enter.